Fire Prevention: Safety Tips and Checklist
Brad Winfrey, Manager of the Center for Childhood Safety and Injury Prevention
Did you know: There are nearly 4,000 deaths and approximately 20,000 hospitalizations each year from household fires? As you can imagine, winter is an especially dangerous time of the year due to space heaters, fire places and candles. Half of home fire deaths are due to fires that happen while people are sleeping. This reinforces the need to have working smoke detectors in every room of the home.
Protecting your home against fire involves planning, and there are several precautions you can take to help protect you and your family.
- Never leave small children alone in the home, even for a minute.
- Plan several escape routes from the house and designate a place to meet outside.
- Conduct home fire drills.
- Do not smoke in bed.
- Dispose of cigarette butts, matches and ashes with care.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children.
- Do not clean clothes with flammable liquids.
- Place a barrier around open flames such as candles, fireplaces and outdoor fires.
- Do not allow children to wear loose-fitting clothing near a stove, fireplace or open space heater.
- Have your heating system checked and cleaned yearly by a professional.
- Check electric appliances and cords regularly for wear or loose connections.
- Place fire extinguishers around the home where the risk of fire is greatest – in the kitchen and furnace room and near the fireplace.
- Be sure the gas water heater is off the ground. (Spilled flammable liquids will be ignited by the pilot light.)
In Case of Fire
- Get out of the house and meet at your planned meeting area.
- Do not stop to dress or try to extinguish the fire. The majority of deaths occur from inhalation of smoke and hot gases.
- Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.
Learn more about where smoke detectors should be placed throughout the house and how often you should test detectors.
Learn more about the Center for Childhood Safety at Children's Mercy.